Kaiser Health News on lead and baby foods

From Kaiser Health News points to other general sources of lead than paint and water:

The Environmental Defense Fund, in an analysis of 11 years of federal data, found detectable levels of lead in 20 percent of 2,164 baby food samples. The toxic metal was most commonly found in fruit juices such as grape and apple, root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots, and cookies such as teething biscuits.

The organization’s primary focus was on the baby foods because of how detrimental lead can be to child development.

According to the FDA, lead makes its way into food through contaminated soil, but Neltner suspects that processing may also play a role.

“I can’t explain it other than I assume baby food is processed more,” Neltner said.

The Environmental Defense Fund report notes that more research on the sources of contamination is needed.

FDA has set guidance levels of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for candy and dried fruit and 50 ppb for fruit juices. The allowable level for lead in bottled water is 5 ppb.

Concern over fruit juices flared up in 2012 when Consumer Reports found that 1 in 4 samples of apple and grape juices had lead levels higher than the FDA’s bottled-water limit of 5 ppb.

The Environmental Defense Fund report was ultimately directed at the food industry and FDA in the hopes of getting limits and standards updated.

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